The logic of ‘Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns?’ is tantalizingly erratic and the experience far from elegant. First, Fischer and Brown commissioned Ellen Page Wilson to document the gallery’s previous exhibition, ‘Four Friends’, which comprised of works, by – predictably – four friends: Donald Baechler, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf. Capturing paintings, sculptures, security officers, gallery attendants, corridors, doors, plants, and air ducts, Wilson’s photographs were blown up and used as wallpaper for the gallery space, rendering the three-dimensional experience of the previous show as the two-dimensional background for paintings, sculptures and installations included in the present exhibition. From the evidence available on Tony Shafrazi’s website, the organizing principle for ‘Four Friends’ seems flimsy (generously) or simply commercially-minded (cynically), but either way it is safe to say that the show was not of the type to receive serious critical attention in the contemporary journals of note. ‘Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns?’, by contrast, is an entirely different proposal, one that breathes new life into a conservative gallery and gestures towards the commercial currency of critical thinking.

Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns ? Four Friends, Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring,

  • by Tony Shafrazi, Urs Fischer